Battle Mountain lax falls to Golden, 9-5 | VailDaily.com

Battle Mountain lax falls to Golden, 9-5

Huskies fall to 4-5

Battle Mountain boys' lacrosse coach Connor Compton and the Huskies talk it over during a timeout during Friday's 9-5 loss to Golden in Edwards.
Chris Freud | cfreud@vaildaily.com

EDWARDS — So is the glass half full or half empty?

In some ways, it was hard to tell after Battle Mountain lacrosse dropped a 9-5 decision in nonconference play on Friday night in Edwards.

The Huskies started slowly which leans toward the half-empty perception.

At the same time, the squad was playing without Tucker Morrow and Dawes Stephanoff, two of their best players on offense and defense, respectively, and were in the game for most of the night. That would fall under the glass being half full.

Maybe it’s all the mark of 4-5 team that’s right on the bubble with regard to the playoffs.

Ground balls

On a simple level, Golden won faceoffs and hammered Battle Mountain in the ground-ball department. With a massive edge in possession, it’s no surprise the visiting Demons came away with the win.

That said, the Huskies nobly fought off the expected knock-out punch. Battle Mountain was down only 4-2 at the half.

“We were very sleepy to come out and were lucky to be down only 4-2,” Huskies coach Connor Compton said. “We’ve been coming together a lot as a team recently. It’s been really interesting to see what our identity is going to be and what our identity is going to be when the going gets tough. Today, we weren’t ready at the start of the game.”

An 8:30 a.m. practice this morning ahead of Steamboat Springs on Monday should sharpen the focus.

The Huskies were also in a jam with regard to chasing down those precious grounders. This game was scheduled earlier this season and rescheduled because of Snowpocalpyse 2019. As a result, this was originally an open weekend on the calendar and Morrow and Stephanoff made college trips.

Battle Mountain’s Jimmy Hancock (18) and Golden’s Ben Kirschner mix it up during Friday’s game in Edwards. The Huskies lost to the Demons to fall to 4-5 on the season. (Chris Freud | Cfreud@vaildaily.com)
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Without Stephanoff, the Huskies’ defense had to play zone. In the classic catch-22, to play zone properly, one has to hold one’s position, which handicaps a defender from getting the loose ground ball.
Despite all that, the Battle Mountain defense acquitted itself well.

And Undy, aka senior goalie, Conner Underwood was outstanding between the pipes for the Huskies.

“I can’t say enough good things about our senior leader, our captain, our goalie,” Compton said. “He makes huge saves when you need him.”

The clears, not only by Underwood, but the rest of the team needed some work, but there’s a solid foundation.

Sans Morrow, who lights up every net he sees, the Huskies stepped up at times on offense. Sophomore Blu Barnett scored twice, including a tally in the fourth quarter that had Huskies fans dreaming of a comeback down just 7-4.

Playoff push?

With getting back Stephanoff and Morrow back and winning more ground balls, it’s tempting to consider the Huskies a contender in the playoff chase. Hosting Steamboat, the leader in the Western Conference, on Monday is the perfect opportunity to prove it so.

That said, the Huskies only have six games left to make their case to the computer and were sitting in the No. 17 spot in the rating-percentage index with the magic number for the playoffs being 16.

On the other hand, Battle Mountain has three of its next four games at home, so wether the glass is half full or half empty is still to be determined.